Free Sign Language Classes
American Sign Language Courses Online
Free College Classes Online
Free Sign Language courses allow you to master the art of sign language, developed to help the deaf and the hearing-impaired communicate with each other. Whether you're hearing-impaired or you work, live, or interact with other American Sign Language users, you can learn ASL for free through OpenCourseWare, iTunes, and standard online instruction methods. Below are some of the best resources for learning sign language and connecting with others who communicate primarily through signing.
Michigan State ASL Studies
Michigan State offers an American Sign Language website at their communications tech lab. This resource requires a Quicktime Installation that only takes a few minutes, but lets you look up the full range of ASL signs. This MSU American Sign Language site has been up since 1997, so it's had a ton of additions and improvements over the years. The ASL program site is dedicated to a Michigan State professor, Dr. David Stewart, who helped champion the sign language program at MSU before he passed on in 2004.
ASL University Courses
The courses at the American Sign Language University offers free study materials, information, and instruction for students at both the university level and the pre-college level of study. While you can get fee-based distance learning through the ASLU, you'll find a considerable amount of sign language instruction without paying a cent. ASL University is a godsend for the deaf, especially those in a rural setting who might not get the same instructional opportunities that city-based sign language students might. Their distance learning program is a signal opportunity for those who want to learn ASL.
Free Sign Language Classes
Free Sign Language classes let you pick up a skill that might not be useful in every situation, but becomes particularly useful in specific settings and with specific individuals. Many colleges list sign language as a foreign language just like Spanish, German, French, and Japanese. What the students who sign up for sign language courses don't always know is that learning this form of communication is just as complicated and taxing as learning to speak Spanish or Italian. If you're thinking of taking sign language at your university or local community college to avoid learning Spanish or German, you might want a head start by entering a free online college course which teaches sign language. You'll have a head start when you walk into your brick-and-mortar higher education classroom.
Free Sign Language College Courses
You would think more of the universities who developed Open Sourceware, such as MIT, would have their own sign language programs. I suspected Stanford might have ASL instruction on iTunes, or Berkeley might have their own sign language instructors on the Internet. But though I wasn't able to find those sources of ASL teaching, the resources above should be more than enough to get you started communicating with signs and understanding the sign language being used around you.